Back Sunshine State
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Tuesday, 08 December 2009 at 7.30pm

Driven by the social conscience that informed his Matewanand Eight Men Out, and the same sense of the past rising up that drew Lone Star so much acclaim, this multilayered ensemble piece from writer/director/editor John Sayles takes as its notional theme the development of swampland for profit. In Florida's Delrona Beach, Edie (The Sopranos) Falco's motel owner sees the chance of escape from small-town drudgery with Timothy Hutton's visiting architect, who is paradoxically there to effectively run her out of town. Meanwhile, Angela Bassett returns - having left town in a hurry as a pregnant teen - to face her past, corruption rages from within the town council and a historical pageant is threatened by apathy. Though unequal to, it resembles Robert Altman's Nashville, much of its script as sharp as a David Mamet, not least from the golfing Greek chorus. Too talky for a wide audience, it's nonetheless intelligent, cool, questioning and humane - a small film that leaves a big impression.


John Sayles